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Today, the Arabia Steamboat Museum holds the one of the largest single collections of pre-Civil War artifacts in the world—more than 200 tons of priceless and historic treasure. The current location has harbored the collection for 30 years, but as more of the artifacts are becoming cleaned and preserved there is no longer room in the present facility for their display. Additionally, the museum’s current facility is leased, and the owners will retake occupancy in 2026. 


Now a campaign for the newly designated facility—the National Steamboat Museum—will establish a larger, permanent location for the Arabia collection, as well as cargo and stories from other yet-to-be-recovered 19th-century steamboats, including the Steamboat Malta that sank in 1841. 

As more steamboats are unearthed, the treasury of these combined cultural antiquities will likely become the largest repository of 19th-century artifacts outside the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.

“The Malta is connected to so many important people in frontier history. Excavating it is like touching their lives.”



— John Fulmer, archaeologist, Burns & McDonnell


The Malta is just the beginning. Join us in establishing this world-class educational facility in the heart of the country—a testament to the bold, brave spirit and optimism that pioneered the American West and still lives on in us today.

*The National Steamboat Museum is a 501c3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

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